Major Party Platforms 1924–1928

January 21, 1928

Report Outline
Analysis of 1924 Party Platforms
Campaign Contributions and Corrupt Practices

A new method of formulating national political platforms, to make them clear, definite and unequivocal declarations of party policy, was recommended by Governor Smith of New York, January 12, to the Democratic party in his letter to its Jackson Day dinner. He proposed that a tentative draft of the 1928 platform be made “at the earliest possible moment” by the Democratic National Committee, to provide a basis for the action of the national convention in June.

I believe we have erred in the past,” he said, “by waiting for the national convention to undertake the entire task of preparing a platform. In the heat and rush of a convention the platform when finally written is… not sufficiently understandable to the masses of the people. There is too great a tendency to speak of the evils that beset us and to fail to suggest any specific remedy. The party platforms of recent years have been too general in their terms and important questions have been neglected by the platform builders in the spirit of compromise with great principles. We cannot carry water on both shoulders. The Democratic party must talk out to the American people in no uncertain terms.”

The 1928 platform, Governor Smith believed, should speak without equivocation on all issues connected with “our foreign relations, prohibition, agriculture, reform of the governmental machinery, economic policy, conservation and development of our public natural resources and in fact any other question which arises.” Indecisive declarations of political faith had got the party nowhere, he said. It had had “sufficient experience along that line in the past”, and it was as a lesson from past experience that he offered his platform suggestions.

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